On Volusia: Angels and Assholes

March 2017 was quite a month here at Barker’s View HQ!

Thanks to you, for the first time since I began this little experiment in providing an alternative opinion to the canned government press releases, skewed news reports, and the backroom pranks of our local ‘movers and shakers,’ our blog closed the month with nearly 10,000 views.

Wow!  Thank you!

Earlier this week, I was contacted by a few folks, one of whom is a prominent elected official, who encouraged me to continue “keeping them honest.”  I also heard from a former local politico, who called Barker’s View an “important local voice” – an outlet that has apparently become a regular read for elected and appointed officials in Volusia County.

Now, I don’t know about all that – but it sure swelled my aching old head.

I explained that if our elected and appointed officials simply kept themselves honest, I could go back to drinking Cajun martinis all afternoon, practicing my cigarette smoking habit, and napping for a living.

At its core, this forum remains the wacky opinions and rants of a pudgy nobody hunched over a computer in his boxer shorts, railing against the machine and venting about the news and newsmakers of the day.

If someone finds a kernel of insight – or a differing view point that causes them to think – I believe that’s a positive thing.

All I really know is that I’m eternally grateful for all of you who read, discuss and share this blog – whether you agree with me or not.  In this salon, we can still be friends regardless of our views or the brutality of our criticism.

Your support means the world to me.

Barker’s View is adding a new feature – I call it “Angels and Assholes of the Week” – a rip-off of those “winners & losers” columns, featuring snippets on how those in positions of great power and influence either contributed, or detracted, to our lives and livelihoods here on the Fun Coast during the week that was.

Why that title, Barker?

Well, because the “Angels and Assholes” thing kind of rhymes – and because I wasn’t bright enough to come up with anything clever on my own.

Here’s our first installment:

Asshole:          The Volusia County Council

At the March 16th meeting of the Volusia County Council, some members took freshman Councilwoman Heather Post to the proverbial woodshed and publicly spanked her like a recalcitrant child for daring to step out of the traditional obstructionist role of a county official and express her support for efforts to find a compassionate solution to the homeless problem.

For her trouble, Council Chair Ed Kelley bashed Ms. Post for violating some weird “Unwritten Protocol” – something he pulled out of his ass – while Deb Denys, the hapless Billie Wheeler, and “Sleepy” Pat Patterson took their own cheap shots from the Peanut Gallery.

Frankly, the county council should be ashamed of their chronic unwillingness to support the valiant efforts of the City of Daytona Beach and others who are working hard to find solutions to our most pressing social, economic and humanitarian problem of homelessness.

Let’s hope our elected and appointed officials in Deland find a way to work cooperatively and provide much-needed funding and support for the proposed shelter.

Asshole:          Councilwoman Heather Post

In my view, Ms. Post showed her true willingness to serve in the public interest when she unhesitatingly expressed her support and enthusiasm for ongoing efforts to find a solution to the homeless issue.

In fact – depending upon who you talk to – she was appointed to serve on the First Step Shelter, Inc. board, outside her position on the county council.

Unfortunately, Ms. Post lacked the courage of her convictions.

When called on the carpet by her cowardly colleagues, Ms. Post began this weird tap dance, clumsily swaying between the truth and a lie, and at one point actually denying that she had been appointed to the First Step board at all.

The result was watching a newly elected official completely unravel in public view.

Had Ms. Post simply stood-up for what she felt was right, she would have brought much-needed attention to Volusia County’s persistent obstructionism on this important issue – a courageous stance that would have made her a hero in the eyes of her constituents.

Instead, the rest of her term will be compromised by her abject quibbling, deflection of responsibility, and cringe-worthy lack of ethical courage when pressured by a cabal of political cowards.

Angel:             Daytona Beach City Commissioner Aaron Delgado

A tip ‘o the hat to Commissioner Delgado, who stood tall in an arena of ethical and mental midgets when he so eloquently expressed exactly what many have wanted to hear for years.

Mr. Delgado was quoted in the Daytona Beach News-Journal commenting on the brouhaha over Heather Post’s pillorying by her fellow county council members for her involvement – or non-involvement – in the homeless efforts:

“The last thing I want to do is see political maneuvering endangering what is really a great project.”

 “This is the kind of thing I feared would happen: people will make a stand on something silly like this instead of seeing the project through.  We need to leave our personalities and egos out of this and just get the job done.”

 In my view, Commissioner Delgado is a refreshing example of a forward-thinking first-year politician who is turning the status quo of stall tactics and time-wasting on its ear.

Unlike most local elected officials, Delgado apparently has no concern for his political future, or an obvious desire to hopscotch through the chairs to higher office.

He is committed to the simple prospect of building a better community and enhancing the quality of life for his constituents in Daytona Beach.

In my view, Aaron Delgado is a man working collegially with other leaders in the Halifax area –  without ego or need for personal recognition – to find compassionate and sustainable solutions to a problem that has dominated our local landscape, hampered true economic development and contributed to the appearance of blight and dilapidation in Volusia County for years.

Quote of the Week:

“A nice (for our lawns) thunder and lightning with rain this morning. Now watch all the grass green up from the NITROGEN created by the lightning.  And some wonder why there is nitrogen in our rivers.”

–Volusia County Council Chairman Ed Kelley, March 23rd, on Facebook

I don’t make this shit up, folks!

Have a great weekend – and thanks again for your support of Barker’s View.

5 thoughts on “On Volusia: Angels and Assholes

  1. Congratulations Mr. Barker, I do enjoy reading your column. Makes me laugh but also contemplate/consider all the various things you bring into the light. And for that I’m appreciative. While I don’t live in the area anymore, I am home frequently to visit my parents, siblings and friends. Some of whom are mentioned in your columns from time to time. Like you, all I want is transparency and accountability. Kudos to you for educating all of us. Please continue doing so!

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  2. I’m thinking the council will retire the trophy since they have the training and experience to stay the course. As for Post, her background/job history and why she was let go follows her to the political arena.In other words if you can’t stand up for what you did,then try and create a fog. Just another bunch of pompous money grubbing assholes playing in a blood sport.
    However Delgado may bear some watching to see if he really does have a backbone. It would be a novel thing in Volusia County politics….Keep up the pot stirring…..

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  3. I don’t subscribe to the popular theory that “homeless” people need, or are entitled to, money or help from the government (me). In the old, honest days, these people were called “vagrants,” now a politically incorrect term. Poor choices have led the vast majority of these people to their current lifestyle. In case you believe me to be hard-hearted, cruel and some kind of Trump supporter — I’m none of those things. The truth is that I have a younger sister who is severely handicapped (blind and retarded). She deserves much more in the way of assistance, compassion and care,and so do the thousands of citizens like her who are similarly afflicted from birth — no fault of theirs or anyone else’s — than hundreds of smelly, scruffy bums wheezing along Beach Street or begging at intersections in their alcohol-induced haze. Misplaced compassion is the rule of the day in 2017, and the “homeless” issue is a prime example. Help the helpless.

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  4. Yeah, I`ll buy this one. remember, I said some time back, If it were me going into politics, I would go in with the understanding that I was a 1 term politician, and try my best to get things moving in a better direction than they are now. Heather is in that position, but self preservation is holding her back. Make some waves, Ms. Post. Make the rest of the council get off their asses and start using their heads. IF you do your job right, it won`t matter what the stuffed shirts have to say, the people go by what they see being done. It could be said as YOUR way to go over their heads. ..go for it.

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